Blues on the Brighter Side: Blue Economy of India

The centrality of the “Blue Economy” is in a state of recovery post-pandemic and one of the critical challenges is the loss of livelihoods and employment.  India is one of the swiftest evolving economies on the global platform and the route to development and recovery today moves via the ocean. “Blue Economy” strives to foster social inclusion, economic growth and the advancement of livelihoods apart from providing environmental sustainability of the coastal and ocean regions.  As per the World Bank blue economy is described as the “sustainable development of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods and jobs while preserving the health of the ocean ecosystem.”  The blue economy includes sectors connected to the non-renewable resources (oil, gas etc.) and renewable resources of the oceans (fisheries etc.).

 India’s Blue Economy framework consists of ocean governance, tourism, deep-sea mining, trade and industry, global engagement etc. Blue Economy further focuses to food security, environmental protection, poverty alleviation, maritime connectivity, job creation and socio-economic growth. It also provides an extensive socio-economic opportunity for coastal countries such as India with a unique maritime position of nearly 7500 km. India with several coastal communities and a vast coastline to construct ports is on an edge with many opportunities in blue economy but this could be thoroughly channelized. Presently, Nations such as Russia, the United States, Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom etc. have taken steps further to consider advancing their position in the blue economy.

Oceans make up the majority of planet Earth. Therefore, blue economy can perform an added pivotal role in supporting the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for 2030, especially SDG14 (life below water). Also, Marine Biotechnology, Blue Bio economy and Ocean Technology can be regarded as an area of tremendous potential and interest concentrating on eco-sustainability and India’s strategic interests. 

Today, India is at an advantageous geostrategic standing with a more significant focus on the Indian Ocean Region (IOR). Blue economy likewise provides India a way in to networking with cities around the world and access to substantial mineral resources, aquaculture, ocean exuberance etc. The Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA), Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR), Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC), Sagarmala Project, could moreover help in forging ahead India’s blue economy. India’s G20 presidency can correspondingly play a tangible key to its blue economy policies. Also, India’s foreign trade through blue economy can boost through the growth of Coastal Economic Zones (CEZ) and aid in modernizing port infrastructure.  The Public Private Participation (PPP) can likewise support the advancement of blue revolution and coastal biodiversity, further lending a helping hand to the blue economy vision of a new India by 2030.

Furthermore, India could collaborate on multilateral engagements with Indo-pacific countries and IOR nations designing blue economic strategies. This could thus place India in a central position and further make it a net security provider that could help the country to play a crucial role in balancing China’s belligerent moves in the IOR. The blue economy thus offers tremendous prospects for India to expand its economy and construct deep-rooted and endurable domestic endeavors. Nevertheless, blue economy should be embarked on in a way that it does not cause irreversible damage to the ecosystem. Nonetheless, blue economy is indeed a gleaming opportunity for expanding India’s economy that could help in mapping out a sustainable ocean economy to turn the blues to the brighter side in an equitable and inclusive way.

Dr.Preethi Amaresh
Dr.Preethi Amaresh
Dr. Preethi Amaresh is an author of four books and a former Doctoral Scholar from Geneva, Switzerland.